Mormons for ERA Photograph Collection, 1977-1983
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Scope and Content:
This collection of photographs chronicle the activities of the Mormons for ERA from 1977 to 1983.
Included in the collection is the ERA March in 1980 and the White House demonstrations in August 1981
and September 1982. Also included are photographs depicting the 20th anniversary of the Martin Luther King March
and the plane tow during the LDS General Conference in October 1983. The collection consists of 122 images
with 81 negatives housed in one acid-free box.
Alice Allred Pottmyer
Alice Allred was born in South Dakota but spent her early years as an active Mormon growing up in Texas
in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Her father was transferred to Washington, D.C. during the summer of 1954.
She attended Brigham Young University and received her B.S. degree in Journalism. During her time at BYU she
became friends with Maida Rust Withers and Hazel Davis Rigby (later to be founding members of Mormons for ERA).
Allred worked for 12 years in Washington D.C. as a trade and professional editor. After having young children, she
started to work from home. For the next five years, she produced and wrote articles for Dialogue magazine. She also wrote
numerous articles for Sunstone magazine, was twice an Arlington delegate to the Virginia Democratic Convention, volunteered
for Arlingtonians for a Better County, a member of the PTA, a leader for Girl Scouts, and worked for the LDS Church
public communications department.
Allred had long supported the Equal Rights Amendment, and in 1975 the issues of ERA began to heat up. With the increasing anti-ERA activity
from conservative groups, including the LDS Church (which formally opposed ERA on Oct. 22, 1976), Allred's friends
from BYU, Maida Rust
Withers and Hazel Davis Rigby, along with Teddie Wood and Soina Johnson co-founded Mormons for ERA in 1978.
Allred did a great deal of background work with Mormons for ERA. She organized and gave
background information to the media about the organization and their activities, including their lobbying efforts, their
views on the complexities of ERA issues, and their public debates on ERA issues. She also developed press
kits that were given to the media. This proved to be an invaluable task once the media coverage exploded when the Mormon
Church excommunicated Sonia Johnson on December 5, 1979.
On December 11, 1982 Alice Allred Pottmyer succeeded Sonia Johnson as president of Mormons for ERA and took over the
newsletter. She functioned as president until 1987 when funds and interest began to diminish.
Hazel Davis Rigby
Hazel Davis grew up in Salem, Utah and was an active member of the Mormon community. She attended Brigham
with childhood friend Maida Rust (Withers). Davis received her B.A. from BYU and then went on to receive her
M.A. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Davis served as the treasurer for the organization. In November of 1980, Mormons for ERA held a
demonstration in front of the Washington Temple in Washington State.
A scuffle erupted between the demonstrators and anti-ERA supporters. Subsequently, the police were called
and Davis was one of
several demonstrators who were arrested. In the years following, she played other important roles in
Mormons for ERA activities
Maida Rust Withers
Maida Rust was born October 13, 1936 in Kanab, Utah, and was the youngest of eight children. She was raised
in Salem Utah, as a member of the LDS Church from which she was a sixth generation pioneer descendant.
She graduated from Spanish Fork High School in 1954, and then attended Brigham Young University where she
received her B.S. in Music and Dance in 1958. She completed her M.A. in Dance from the University of Utah.
Withers began her teaching career at Purdue University. In 1963, she took a teaching position at Howard
University for one year. During that time she marched with the other Faculty
members (she being the only white female faculty) to the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King was
giving a speech.
At the end of 1963, she accepted a position in the Department of Theater and Dance as an Associate Professor at George Washington
University in Washington, D.C. During her career at George Washington University, she directed the M.F.A. dance program, taught
advanced dance, dance and movement improvisation, choreography, and performance art theory. She also served on the Board of Directors
of Washington Projects for the Arts for eight years, and served a three year term on the Kennedy Center Education Committee.
In 1974 Withers founded the critically acclaimed dance troupe Maida Withers Dance Construction Company.
During the early seventies, she became increasingly involved in the social and political issues of the
Vietnam war and the Civil
Rights movement. In 1975, the issues of the Equal Rights Amendment began to heat up. It was during this
year that Maida Rust Withers and
one of her friends, Teddie Wood became active participants in the pro-ERA movement.
During the 80's Wither's focus on social reform turned to environmental awareness. The social issues of
the past and her activism in the
Equal Rights movement prepared her for her passionate environmental activism. In 1992, she
and her dance troupe participated
with other international artists for ecology at the United Nation's Conference on Environment and
continues to tour nationally and internationally with her dance company and uses dance as interpretive means
for environmental awareness.
She has created over 35 distinctive works for the stage and video, and subsequently has received a myriad of
prestigious awards and
accolades from her peers, critics, and the public.
Alice Allred Pottmyer, Hazel Davis Rigby, and Maida Rust Withers donated this collection to
Utah State University Special Collections and Archives on November 21, 1996.
The collection is divided between photographs donated by the three women heading the organization.
The photographs are primarily color prints with several black and white photographs. Negatives are available for the
prints of the White House demonstration in 1981 and the plane tow in 1983.
The photographs in this collection were taken from the Mormons for ERA manuscript
collection. More details concerning the history of Mormons for ERA and bios of Allred, Rigby and Withers, are also available in
COLL MSS 225.
Collection processed by Sarah Elliott, May 1998 and revised by Jessica Alexander, December 2006.
Note: The description of the photographs in folders 1-2 and 5-7 are quotes written by Alice
Pottmyer on the back of the prints.
Folder 1. Mormons for ERA from Alice Allred Pottmyer
01:01:01. Marie's "Ru" Dan on left, Tish on right inspecting the food before we ate.
01:01:02. Around the table: "Ru" Atkinson, Robert Head, Dan, the great non-LDS,
Tish and Dave Disinore.
01:01:03. Our "2 little ladies from Pasadena" then unnamed guest.
From right side toward back: Lynn Weatherford, her boyfriend in red shirt
standing in back of her, Dave, and Audrey.
01:01:04. Beth and Price Gibb.
01:01:05. Ron discusses great things with Price.
01:01:06. Beth Gibb and "Mary's" friend "Betsy" (She is actually dying in this shot-so shocked was she!)
01:01:07. Same death scene-Ru, Tish, Robert, and ?
Folder 2. Mormons for ERA from Alice Allred Pottmyer
01:02:01. Beginning at back right: Dave Disinore, AJ Ryan, Kip Grant, and Michael
01:02:02. Lynn and boyfriend in hall door (no more room to sit.)
01:02:03. Wayland from his seat in library named for him.
01:02:04. Wayland citing a source.
01:02:05. Our booth at the L.A. Women's Faire in April.
01:02:06. Booth at L.A. Women's Faire in April.
01:02:07. Margot Cheney, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Marlene Hill in Hotel Utah lobby.
Folder 3. 1980 Mother's Day ERA March, Chicago, IL
01:03:01. Left to Right: Marjory Hart, Sonia Johnson, and Alice A. Pottmyer (blue
01:03:02. Left to Right: Teddie Wood (red shirt), Alice Pottmyer, Virginia Graham,
and Kathy Harvey.
01:03:03. "You Can't Excommunicate Equality: Mormons for ERA" banner.
Folder 4. Equality Day Parade, 1977
01:04:01. Sonia Johnson behind banner.
01:04:02. Sonia Johnson carrying banner, Ron Rigby in background.
Folder 5. California Mormons for ERA
01:05:01. Love the looks on Sam and Gay Taylor's faces: Alice is reading the R.S.
01:05:02. Alice pledging allegiance?
01:05:03. Gay Taylor is asking why we need the ERA.
01:05:04. AJ Ryan chatting with Wayland.
01:05:05. Marlene Head, Marlene Hill and Vicki Selmier.
01:05:06. Alice Pottmyer and Marlene Head before song at board meeting.
Folder 6. California Mormons for ERA
01:06:01. The looks on the faces of Alice Pottmyer and Marlene Head tell the story
before they sang.
01:06:02. Oh! Here she comes.
01:06:03. Why isn't Marlene singing with Alice?
01:06:04. Total exhaustion- the song is ended and so is Marlene.
01:06:05. Which is pregnant for the first time, Marlene or Alice?
01:06:06. Marlene Head learned "the look" real well- all the gestures and stances
01:06:07. Alice Pottmyer- Home Sweet Home.
Folder 7. Hotel Utah
01:07:01. Alice Pottmyer's Hotel Utah letter to T.K.- droopy eyelids denote lateness
Folder 8. Cheryl Dalton
01:08:01. Mormons for ERA present Cheryl Dalton SISTERS!
Folder 9. White House ERA Demonstration, August 1981
01:09:01. "ERA Yes! There's No "E.R." without the "A." Banner. (2 copies)
01:09:02. "Without ERA All Women are in Chains" Banner. (2 copies)
01:09:03. Demonstrators chaining themselves to the fence. (2 copies)
Folder 10. White House ERA Demonstration, August 1981
01:10:01. Demonstrators chained to the fence. (2 copies)
01:10:02. Demonstrators chained to the fence. (2 copies)
01:10:03. Demonstrators chained to the fence- Sonia Johnson third from left.
Folder 11. White House ERA Demonstration, August 1981
01:11:01. Demonstrators from Florida, Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, and Utah -
Sonia Johnson on the far right. (2 copies)
01:11:02. Demonstrators from Oklahoma, Florida, Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas,
and a female minister. (2 copies)
01:11:03. Demonstrators from Oklahoma, Florida, Carolina, and a female minister.
Folder 12. White House ERA Demonstration, August 1981
01:12:01. Demonstrators from Oklahoma, Florida, Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas,
and a female minister. (2 copies)
01:12:02. Demonstrators from USA, Louisiana, Virginia, and others. (2 copies)
01:12:03. Demonstrators from Virginia, USA, and Illinois. (2 copies)
Folder 13. White House ERA Demonstration, August 1981
01:13:01. Demonstrators from Louisiana, Virginia, and USA. (2 copies)
01:13:02. Demonstrator from Utah. (2 copies)
01:13:03. Sonia Johnson.
Folder 14. White House ERA Demonstration, August 1981
01:14:01. "Without ERA All Women are in Chains" Banner. (2 copies)
01:14:02. Chains connecting women to the fence. (2 copies)
01:14:03. Chains holding the women to the fence. (2 copies)
Folder 15. White House ERA Demonstration, August 1981
01:15:01. Women chained to the fence.
01:15:02. Alice Pottmyer and television crews at the demonstration. (2 copies)
01:15:03. Alice Pottmyer and demonstrators.
01:15:04. Crowd at demonstrations. (2 copies)
Folder 16. White House ERA Demonstration, August 1981
01:16:01. Crowd of demonstrators. (2 copies)
01:16:02. Television crews interviewing demonstrators. (2 copies)
01:16:03. Television crews filming demonstrators. (2 copies)
Folder 17. 20th Anniversary of Martin Luther King March, August 27, 1983
01:17:01. From left to right: Debra Evenson, Alice Pottmyer, and Marjory Hart.
01:17:02. From left to right: Debra Evenson and Alice Pottmyer.
01:17:03. From left to right: Debra Evenson and Marjory Hart.
Folder 18. October 1983 Plane Tow during LDS General Conference
01:18:01. "ERA-The Pearl of Great Price" Banner.
01:18:02. Banner between two buildings in Salt Lake City.
01:18:03. Banner between the LDS Church Office building and LDS Temple.
01:18:04. Banner over Hotel Utah.
01:18:05. Banner between Church Office building and Temple.
Folder 19. October 1983 Plane Tow during LDS General Conference
01:19:01. Banner over Temple and Seagull Monument.
01:19:02. Spectators in front of LDS Tabernacle looking at the banner.
01:19:03. Banner by the side of the Temple.
01:19:04. Banner in the sky.
01:19:05. Spectators at Temple Square.
Folder 20. October 1983 Plane Tow during LDS General Conference
01:20:01. Crowd at Temple Square.
01:20:02. People at Temple Square.
01:20:03. Plane towing the banner.
01:20:04. Spectators watching the banner.
01:20:05. Banner in the sky.
Folder 21. October 1983 Plane Tow during LDS General Conference
01:21:01. Close-up shot of the banner.
01:21:02. Banner in the sky.
01:21:03. Banner on the right of the LDS Church Office building.
01:21:04. Banner on the left of the LDS Church Office building.
01:21:05. Banner over the Temple.
Folder 22. October 1983 Plane Tow during LDS General Conference
01:22:01. Banner over the Temple and Hotel Utah.
01:22:02. Banner in the sky.
01:22:03. Banner over the Temple.
01:22:04. Banner over the Temple and Hotel Utah.
01:22:05. Banner over Hotel Utah, Temple on the right.
Folder 23. October 1983 Plane Tow during LDS General Conference
01:23:01. Close-up shot of the banner.
01:23:02. Banner in the sky.
01:23:03. Banner over the Temple.
01:23:04. Banner over Hotel Utah, Temple on the right.
01:23:05. Man pointing to the banner in the sky.
Folder 24. October 1983 Plane Tow during LDS General Conference
01:24:01. Banner in the sky.
01:24:02. Debra Evenson speaking.
01:24:03. Debra Evenson being interviewed by KSL Channel 5.
01:24:04. Debra Evenson being interviewed by KSL Channel 5.
Folder 25. Hazel Davis Rigby
01:25:01. Group photo taken in Rochester, 1980.
Folder 26. Maida Rust Withers
Spring 1982: The Day Women Climbed the White House Fence to
Deliver a Message to President Reagan
01:26:01. ERA Demonstrators.
01:26:02. Women holding banners marching down the street "Susan B. Anthony
01:26:03. Woman dressed as Susan B. Anthony delivering a speech.
01:26:04. Maida Rust speaking at the April Alliance on April 29, 1980
Rev. David H. Eaton and Dr. Charles V. Bergstrom on the right.
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